Sudden Cardiac arrest Risk profile in a group of amateur level Basketball players from the University of the Witwatersrand

  • PJL Gradidge
  • E Watson
  • A Vallance
  • T Schultz
  • D Constantinou
Keywords: Sudden cardiac arrest, Basketball players, Marfan syndrome, Urban, South Africa.


The purpose of this study was to screen a sample (N=31) of urban university amateur level basketball players for the risk of sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). A questionnaire (self-reported) and physical assessment was used to elicit SCA risk factors for the participants. The physical part of the questionnaire comprised measuring blood pressure, body mass index (BMI), glucose and cholesterol measurement, and performing electrocardiograms (ECG) on those with positive signs of SCA risk, such as angina, syncope and family history of SCA. Resting blood pressures (BPs) were significantly different between the genders; males (n=17) 120mmHg (IR: 25) vs. females (n=14) 103mmHg (IR: 10)), p<0.0001, whereas total cholesterol (4.2 vs. 4.5mmol.L-1, p=0.07) and blood glucose (5 vs. 4.4mmol.L-1, p=0.13) were similar. ECGs were performed on those that displayed Marfanoid characteristics, such as pectus carinatum deformity, scoliosis, skin striae, and symptoms of dural ectasia; however, there was no evidence of underlying abnormalities. Basketball players may theoretically appear to be in the phenotype of high risk individuals for SCA, however, males and females in this group of university basketball players showed varying signs of SCA risk, with the overall risk being reasonably low, albeit abnormalities were highlighted in some and Marfanoid characteristics were clearly evident in others.

Key words: Sudden cardiac arrest; Basketball players, Marfan syndrome; Urban; South Africa.


Journal Identifiers

print ISSN: 0379-9069